Henry Lawson Wyatt Monument, Raleigh
A bronze statue atop a granite base depicts Henry Lawson Wyatt, the first Confederate soldier to die in battle. The statue shows Wyatt walking into battle seemingly with purpose. The monument is intended as a memorial to all Confederate soldiers. The Gorham Manufacturing Company, one of the leading art foundries in the country, cast the monument.
Images: Contemporary front view | Front inscription | Rare view | Rear inscription | Base inscription
Removal of the Henry Lawson Wyatt Monument in downtown Raleigh on June 20, 2020
Front: HENRY LAWSON WYATT / PRIVATE CO. A / BETHEL REGIMENT /
NORTH CAROLINA VOLUNTEERS / KILLED AT BETHEL CHURCH / JUNE 10, 1861 /
FIRST CONFEDERATE SOLDER | TO FALL IN BATTLE IN THE | WAR BETWEEN THE
Rear: WYATT'S COMRADES / IN DASH TO BURN THE HOUSE / GEORGE T. WILLIAMS / JOHN H. THORPE / ROBERT H. RICKS / ROBERT H. BRADLEY / THOMAS FALLON / ERECTED BY THE NORTH CAROLINA | DIVISION, UNITED DAUGHTERS | OF THE CONFEDERACY. / JUNE 10, 1912
Base, east face: GORHAM. Co. FOUNDERS.
North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources
June 10, 1912
35.780730 , -78.639620 View in Geobrowse
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Smith, Samantha Thompson. "Capitol Statues Renewed to Honor Sculptor," The News and Observer (Raleigh, NC), November 9, 2008
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United Daughters of the Confederacy, North Carolina Division. Minutes of the Fourteenth Annual Convention of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, North Carolina Division, Held at Rocky Mount N.C., October 12th, 13th, 14th 1910, [Raleigh, NC: Capital Printing Co., 1910], 24, 72, (accessed September 3, 2012) Link
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United Daughters of the Confederacy, North Carolina Division
$4,500.00, R. H. Hicks gave $1000, State Legislature gave $2500.
On June 10, 1912, the monument was unveiled with help from Wyatt's nephew. During the ceremony, "Dixie" was played, and rebel yells shouted by those who gathered. An address was given by E. J. Hale, J. Bryan Grimes was master of ceremonies, and Fannie Ransom Williams presented the statue. John A Mitchener (who started the project and served as secretary for the Wyatt Memorial Committee) attended, and Senator L. V. Bassett and Gov. W. W. Kitchen also gave remarks.
First at Bethel
Henry Lawson Wyatt was the first Confederate soldier to die in battle during the Civil War on June 10, 1861. North Carolina Confederates took great pride in the fact that a citizen of the state was the first to surrender his life in the defense of the Confederate nation. After the Civil War, North Carolina Confederates boasted that their state (or rather, its soldiers) had been "First at Bethel, Farthest at Gettysburg and Chickamauga, and Last at Appomattox."
See Henry Lawson Wyatt Memorial Fountain in Tarboro, NC.
Virginia had asserted that they in fact had gone farther at Gettysburg. This monument played a role in an ongoing debate over which state was most loyal, had sacrificed most, and fought harder than any other.
Following the massacre of nine African Americans in a church in Charleston, South Carolina on June 17, 2015 by white supremacist Dylann Roof, Americans, especially southerners, have reflected on and argued over the historical legacy of slavery, the Civil War, the Confederacy, and white supremacy. Monuments have been a particular focus of these debates and controversies, especially after the death of a counter-protester, Heather Heyer, at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in August 2017 and after President Donald Trump expressed his opposition to the removal of Confederate memorials. Despite laws in many southern states intended to prevent or impede the removal or relocation of historical monuments, protesters and local community leaders have removed or relocated controversial monuments associated with slavery, the Confederacy, and white supremacy. The pace of the removal of controversial monuments accelerated sharply in 2020, following the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Against the backdrop of protests against police brutality and white supremacy across the nation, local authorities in many communities in North Carolina removed and/or relocated monuments that were the focus of civil unrest.
The Henry Lawson Wyatt statue was removed from the North Carolina Capitol grounds on Saturday morning June 20, 2020 along with the monument to the Monument to North Carolina Women of the Confederacy. The statue atop the Confederate Monument was also removed but the equipment on site was insufficient to remove the main column of the 75-foot tall memorial. That task was completed on June 23. Governor Roy Cooper had ordered all three monuments removed after demonstrators on June 19 had pulled down two statues at the base of the Confederate Memorial and dragged them down W. Hargett Street. One was left hanging from a light pole and the other left on the steps of Wake County Courthouse. "I have ordered the Confederate monuments on the Capitol grounds be moved to protect public safety. I am concerned about the dangerous efforts to pull down and carry off large, heavy statues and the strong potential for violent clashes at the site. If the legislature had repealed their 2015 law that puts up legal roadblocks to removal we could have avoided the dangerous incidents of last night," Cooper said. "Monuments to white supremacy don't belong in places of allegiance, and its past time that these painful memorials be moved in a legal, safe way."
The memorial was removed from the grounds of the North Carolina State Capitol in Raleigh, NC, on June 20, 2020. As of August 2020, it is being stored at an undisclosed location.
The monument stood in front of the State Capitol building and faced South Salisbury Street in Raleigh, NC. The monument was surrounded by a walkway for visitors to walk around the entirety of the monument. There were a number of trees nearby as well as a grassy plain behind the monument. It was removed on June 20, 2020.
In the fall of 2008 the monument was repaired and cleaned by the conservators from the Borglum Historical Center in South Dakota.